The hidden secrets of copper alloy artifacts in the Athenian Agora

Alice Paterakis


Preliminary analysis indicates the formation of corrosion compounds containing copper acetate on copper alloy objects in the Athenian Agora. Sources of acetate in the collection can include vinyl acetate, polyvinyl acetate, and cellulose acetate resins used as adhesives and lacquers in the past, acetic acid used for cleaning, ammonium acetate used in artificial patination, and wooden storage materials. Further studies of the corrosion products and synthetic polymers found on these objects, based on analyses carried out at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The British Museum by XRD and FTIR, will illuminate the contributing factors in the formation of the copper acetates and the identification of the specific compounds present.

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1999 | St. Louis | Volume 6